lundi 16 octobre 2017

You Might Be A Genius if You Appreciate Dark Humor

Well, turns out I'm smarter than I thought I was.

If You Laugh at These Dark Jokes, You’re Probably a Genius


According to a new study published in the journal Cognitive Processing, your reaction could indicate your intelligence. In the paper, a team of psychologists concludes that people who appreciate dark humor—defined as “humor that treats sinister subjects like death, disease, deformity, handicap or warfare with bitter amusement and presents such tragic, distressing or morbid topics in humorous terms”—may have higher IQs, show lower aggression, and resist negative feelings more effectively than people who turn up their noses at it.

via International Skeptics Forum

Young Labour vote for UK to leave NATO

It appears the youthful side of the party is even more bonkers than Corbyn and McDonnell.

From article:

Young Labour demanded the UK ditch the military alliance after voting to support a motion called “support Corbyn and internationalism, oppose Trump and NATO”.

The motion said: “From Guyana to Vietnam to Iraq, the Labour Party all too often been complicit in American overseas aggression. NATO has been the lynchpin and institutional expression of American imperialism.”

Labour’s youth section called for an end to the UK’s membership to the alliance claiming NATO’s “continual aggression” made us less safe.

A lot of silly youngsters seem to have swallowed fake news. Bigly. :(

via International Skeptics Forum

Guy finds stage guns in his basement after he buys the house.

I was reading on facebook where a man bought a house after the owner died. Going into the basement he found a plywood board covering part of the basement wall. Removing the board he discovered what he at first thought was an arsenal. On closer inspection, he discovered the guns were stage mock-up of weapons.

Which is more valuable; the real thing or the stage version?

via International Skeptics Forum

Feel free to put me down hard but I don't think Trump is a bad President at all.

I think he's disliked for being an old-fashioned America first patriot who wants to keep and create jobs for Americans. Nothing in his rhetoric speaks of racism and his attitude toward Muslim immigrants is shared by the silent majority of Americans including myself. I admit every Muslim I have ever met I liked. Trump likes some of them himself.

He has strengthened Americas military and stood up to petty tyrants like the North Korean President.

What has he really done to deserve being hated?

via International Skeptics Forum

Cliff, A Teacher?

Look at this you tube video.


The only thing worse, speaking Chinese and handing out one sided glass bongs.

P. S. There aren't more like him are there?

via International Skeptics Forum

California mandates pet stores adopt rescues

In yet another obvious Libtard overreach California has outlawed pet stores using puppy mills just because they are cruel. Instead the special snowflakes think animals should not be put through misery and will now require pet stores to adopt out rescues.

I bet the rescue dogs won't even stand for the flag or help slut shame women. No wonder God is punishing the state with wildfires. #MAGA

via International Skeptics Forum

Conspiracy theoriest and intelligence?

Just curious. I know two men who are both consumed with conspiracy issues about - everything. Everything. It wouldn't surprise me if one of them claimed the FBI was controlling Big Foot.

The thing is, both men are quite intelligent and well educated. I apologize if this has been discussed, but I wonder if this is not unusual?

via International Skeptics Forum

dimanche 15 octobre 2017

Russian interference in austrian elections

The ukrainians tried to warn us, now it happened.

Austria voted today, and the russians interfered!

The only austrian party that was in favor of sanctions against russia might not make it into the next parliament! (the greens) Current polls have them at 3.9%, just shy of the 4% requiered.

I guess it was via social media. Of course If the russians spent as much money on meddling with austria as they spent meddling with the US it would be almost 1000€ in ad buys. (And of course none of it would have been anti green, and 560€ have not been spent yet, but will be spent in the next few months)

Or maybe they just gave the money to Peter Pilz directly. Maybe he funded his election poster with it (He had just one, and took it with him wherever he went)

via International Skeptics Forum

Culture war and USA politics

The world I experience every day is a secular one. I watch nerdy youtube videos about science or debunking religious claims. I read HuffingtonPost, Slate and various other secular type publications.

I happened to be driving somebody else's car and the radio was tuned to a holy roller station and then I happened on another one. It really struck me how large the gap is between people like me and the religious true believers. It is hard to imagine how these people would ever vote for somebody that isn't pandering to their beliefs.

Michelle Bachman says that Trump is now a true Christian that prays to God for help. That strikes me as an incredible lie or incredible gullibility on her part and yet I suspect there are millions of people that believe this. I have thought for a long time that people are largely born skeptical or not. If that is so the coalition of racists and religious fundamentalists that got Trump elected seems almost unassailable. The religious fundamentalists are being skillfully manipulated by cynical people and I don't see how that will change.

It is conceivable, that the changing US population demographics and more enthusiasm for voting by the younger folks might help. It looks like the legal challenges to gerrymandering might succeed. It is also possible that the secular economic conservatives will continue to leave the Republican Party as it becomes increasingly a fundamentalist driven organization.

Before that happens I hope the US hasn't killed millions of people because it is led by a psychopathic buffoon. There is a reasonable chance now that if Trump succeeds in starting disastrous trade wars, and dismantling the social safety net that hundreds of thousands of people will suffer. Racism will certainly continue to expand as his racist rhetoric continues to enable racists and racist ideas.

When I was a kid I wondered why something like Hitler couldn't happen in the US. I think we are getting a real education now about how that could happen here.

via International Skeptics Forum

Terrorist Attack - Somalia

Truck bomb outside of a hotel yesterday. Hundreds dead, hundreds wounded. Just awful, obviously. BBC has some information. Lots of people assuming al-Shabab is behind it, but apparently no confirmation yet.

via International Skeptics Forum

So You Think O.J. Simpson Is Guilty?

I know most media pundits and outlets believe O.J. Simpson is not only guilty, but obviously and undeniably guilty, but a closer look at the supposed "mountain of evidence" against O.J. reveals contradictions, bogus claims, and absurd scenarios.

An Unlikely Scenario: Problems with the Case Against O.J. Simpson


* Keeping in mind the above facts, at about 10:00 PM, O.J. tries to call his girlfriend, Paula Barbieri. Earlier in the day, she had left him a voicemail saying she wanted to end their relationship. So, according to the prosecution, partly as a result of the break-up message, O.J. starts on a journey toward mad rage—and then murders his ex-wife that evening. Wait a minute: His ex-wife? Why would he not have directed his alleged mad rage at Paula Barbieri? (By the way, Paula visited O.J. several times at the county jail during the trial and stated in interviews that O.J. was incapable of murdering anyone.)

Additionally, O.J. called two other girls on the day of the murders to get dates with them, which is not exactly the behavior one would expect from a man who was supposedly obsessed with his wife and building up to a murderous rage. At 7:35 PM, he left a voicemail with one of the girls and said the following:
Uh, hey, Gretchen, sweetheart. It’s Orenthal James who is finally at a place in his life where he is totally, totally unattached with everybody. Ha ha. In any event, I got a Sunday evening, uh, I’d love [pauses]. . . . I guess I guess I’m catching a red-eye [late-night airline flight] to Chicago but I’ll be back Monday night. (Gerald Uelman, Lessons from the Trial: The People v. O.J. Simpson, Kansas City, MO: Andrews and McMeel, 1996, p. 59)
As Gerald Uelman, a former dean at the Santa Clara University School of Law, noted, “It does not sound like a person distraught by jealousy who is on the verge of homicide” (Lessons from the Trial, p. 59).

* O.J., wishing to "disguise" himself, puts on a dark sweatsuit and a dark knit cap, and then drives to Nicole's house in his white Bronco, which everyone in Nicole’s neighborhood has seen him driving dozens of times before.

* Although O.J. puts on a sweatsuit, he wears fancy dress socks and super-expensive Bruno Magli dress shoes.

* Instead of wearing a ski mask or a stocking to cover his face, O.J. puts on a knit cap, which does nothing to hide his face and which can only look suspicious in the mid-summer temperatures of that night. A ski mask or stocking also would have looked suspicious, but at least they would have covered his face. Incidentally, the knit cap was quite small, too small to fit O.J.’s head in a normal manner.

Interestingly, an identical knit cap was found inside Nicole’s house. The cap that was supposedly found near the bodies might have belonged to one of O.J. and Nicole’s two young children, both of whom lived with Nicole at the time. This suggests that the cap might have been planted, either by one of the killers or by a police officer. Planting the cap would have been a simple matter of going inside the house (the door was left open), picking up the cap, and dropping it near the bodies.

* Still in this supposed "stealth" mode, O.J. drives his large, well-known, and very noisy white Bronco into the alleyway behind Nicole’s house on Bundy Drive, even though the alleyway is fairly well-lit, even though he surely knows there are homes with windows that have a good view of that alleyway, and even though the alleyway is visible by passing cars. Not to mention the fact that everybody in that area knows O.J.'s white Bronco. Throughout the trial, the prosecution swung back and forth between scenarios that required O.J. to be a supremely dumb criminal to scenarios that assumed he was extremely clever and cunning.

via International Skeptics Forum

The Rest I Will Kill

Has anybody read Brian McGinty’s The Rest I Will Kill about the Civil War hero William Tillman?
I first heard about Tillman 10 years ago in British stand-up comedian Mark Steel’s 30-minute lecture about the American Civil War (available online in audio (mp3) versions), in which he mentions how he would love to see the story adapted for the big screen, albeit it not with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role! :)

via International Skeptics Forum

Fractional reserve vs. gold reserve banking

Back in the old times, central banking was based on gold reserve, which means that the amount of money in circulation is equal to the value of gold in possession of the central bank.

Then came fractional reserve banking, which means the the amount of money in circulation (as cash plus loans) exceeds the value of guarantees against which the central bank and/or other banks give out loans.

Is fractional reserve banking a genious invention to increase the economic productivity of society, or an evil pyramid fraud scheme that impoverishes the population?

Wiki says:

via International Skeptics Forum

samedi 14 octobre 2017

Bruno Gröning

Just got a leaflet in my mailbox from "Bruno Gröning Circle of Friends". These guys are faith healers following the teachings of Bruno who claim their healings are medically verified. The verifying authority are "The Medical Scientific Group (MWF)".

When you google the MWF you find yourself back with the "Bruno Gröning Circle of Friends". It would seem the only reason for the existence of the authority is to verify the faith healings of Bruno's mates.... Not very impressive!

Reading about the life of Bruno one finds it was very short. He died at the tender age of 52 it seems from stomach cancer. So much for the effectiveness of his faith healing.

One would think this would be a difficult treatment to sell in the light of the above but then some folk will buy into anything.

via International Skeptics Forum

Samsung Pay

This service is about the most amazing thing ever. You can pay for things using your phone/watch (I have both) via a connected debit/credit card.

Unlike both Android Pay and Apple Pay, you can use Samsung Pay at places that do not have NFC readers (many places in my experience). It uses a technology that mimics the magnetic strip in cards. You hold the phone/watch up to the card reader and it thinks you swiped a card!

There is also a rewards program. You get points for every time you you use and you can redeem them for gift cards, drawings in prizes, ect.

Sorry if this sounds like an ad. but I just wanted to let people know how great this service is.

via International Skeptics Forum

Hurricane Ophelia on its way to the UK..!

Cool. The UK is about to get its own Hurricane, aptly named 'Ophelia'.

A nice Shakespearean touch.

We can expect British understated 'gusts' of up to 80 mph. And some warm weather, albeit wet.

So, people can no longer level the argument at moi that 'You've never experienced a hurricane; come back when you have'.

According to The National Hurricane Centre, Ophelia is a 'rare category 3':

11:00 AM AST Sat Oct 14
Location: 34.8°N 26.6°W
Moving: NE at 25 mph
Min pressure: 960 mb
Max sustained: 115 mph

Attached Images
File Type: jpg ophelia.jpg (91.8 KB)

via International Skeptics Forum

Trump threatening NBC?

For publishing "fake news"?

Can anyone remember when a president was so anti First Amendment?

Of course most "conservatives" won't care. Because they are authoritarian slime and Trump is their leader.

Imagine if Obama threatened this. Republicans would be talking about impeachment.

For those that don't know what I'm talking about:

via International Skeptics Forum

Will "conservatives" complain if (when) Trump's tax plan increases the deficit?

LOL, of course they won't. The deficit only matters if a Democrat is President. Republicans can increase the deficit by giving more money to rich people and the large majority of "conservatives" won't give a crap.

via International Skeptics Forum

Clairvoyance TV program criticised by participants

Danish celebrities have publicly criticised a clairvoyance TV program that they have participated in. The links are in Danish, unfortunately:
Celebrities angry about their part in Kanal 4 program "Nærkontakt"
Kanal 4 program is criticised by participants: Deception, Fraud, and Lies
Celebrities rages against TV program: I should never have accepted

The program Nærkontakt ("Close Encounter") boasted that even its skeptic celebrity participants had their worldview shaken when they met the clairvoyant in the program, but in fact three of the participants have explained that the clairvoyant missed most of the time, and all of the misses were cut away.

One of them says that he used the word "manipulation" several times during the filming, but all is gone. They accuse the program of being pure fraud and warn people off spending money on contacting the dead.

A spokesperson for the TV channel is sorry that these celebs feel they have been misused, because the cutting process has been very loyal to the positions of the participants, and the viewers are not in doubt that some of the participants are skeptics.

One can only conclude that it was negligent of the TV channel to forget to add a non-disclosure clause in the contract.

via International Skeptics Forum

vendredi 13 octobre 2017

Half the universe’s missing matter finally found

FYI: Lots of space stuff detected in very clever ways. :)
(they did pretty much know it was there...just could not prove it!)

From an article in NewScientist:


The missing links between galaxies have finally been found. This is the first detection of the roughly half of the normal matter in our universe – protons, neutrons and electrons – unaccounted for by previous observations of stars, galaxies and other bright objects in space.
Two separate teams found the missing matter – made of particles called baryons rather than dark matter – linking galaxies together through filaments of hot, diffuse gas.

“The missing baryon problem is solved,” says Hideki Tanimura at the Institute of Space Astrophysics in Orsay, France, leader of one of the groups. The other team was led by Anna de Graaff at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

via International Skeptics Forum

Rooted my Android tablet... hilarity ensues. :D

Nothing tragic as I didn't have anything critical on it, but I've lost the entire two year setup and have a fresh factory build again. :p

It's a $70 Nextbook Ares8 from WallyWorld and like many other folks it had become so full and painfully slow I just had to do something. Most of the more useful operations are locked out of these things so I went ahead and found out about rooting it.
Plus... it's had a 64 gb SD card STUCK in the slot since week one... and most retail 5.0 Lolipop devices removed the ability to use SD storage. :rolleyes:

By about 3 AM I was pretty punchy, and not happy that backp ops couldn't "find the DATA partition" on the SD. Found out it needed the file type cycled from, in this case, EXT4 to FAT and back again.

Of course... this wipes the lookup tables, which is why I should have found a way to force a backup to cloud storage or something.
Yep... should have. :D

On the plus side... it's quick again, and I have SD space as well as less crap using the limited RAM.

And the PlayStore actually keeps a full list of all the apps I've grabbed from there in the "Library" tab of "My Games and Apps" (stunning how many little games and other crap I've run and deleted). So I've lost any game scores etc., but at least it's a list of what I'll want to reinstall.

Anyway... "rooting".
I don't code so I've little use for the bulk of the functionality. But the process went fairly smoothly, once I gave up trying to get it done with any of the standalone apps (KingRoot etc.) and went ahead and did it through the PC.
I'd never bothered to hook them together before.

And now I can ADB bridge and direct install from a browser page on the PC if I come across something there... actually a more pleasant experience than digging through the PlayStore. ;)

So... what can I break on it next? Suggestions? :D

via International Skeptics Forum

Facebook's hate speech policy

The New York Times has an interesting interactive article about Facebook's hate speech policy.

You should probably go there and take the quiz before reading the spoiler entry below, which comments on the article.

I got 6 out of 6 correct just by applying the policy as it was defined in article. I think Facebook's application of their own policy is good. The most difficult one was the Muslim Immigrants one, since immigrant status is kinda similar to national origin, but I decided not close enough (as did FB).

What the article didn't make clear is that if one thinks some of these ought to be classified as hate speech, then one has to complain about FB's policy and not its implementation.

(For what it's worth, since asked, I said none of them were hate speech, but only because I'm not sure what hate speech is and tend to interpret it in a very narrow sense. To say they aren't hate speech isn't to say they aren't terribly offensive and worthy of censorship.)

via International Skeptics Forum

In Luisianna the "good" prisoners belong in prison as servants or rather as slaves


The remarks, by Sheriff Steve Prator of Caddo Parish, came near the end of a lengthy news briefing on Oct. 5, in which he objected to a set of laws that will allow for the release of a number of nonviolent prisoners on Nov. 1.

The sheriff spent the majority of the news conference talking about the danger of letting out repeat offenders who belonged in prison. He referred to those prisoners as “the bad ones,” and compared them with state prisoners held in parish jails and sentenced to hard labor, whom he deemed “good.”

“In addition to the bad ones — and I call these bad — in addition to them, they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchen, to do all that, where we save money,” Sheriff Prator said. “Well, they’re going to let them out.”


Caddo Parish has a long history of racial discrimination in its criminal justice system and beyond. More people have been sentenced to death per capita there than in any other county in the United States; close to 80 percent of those executed have been black. Shreveport was once a confederate capital, and a 2015 study found that the parish was a hotbed of lynchings between 1877 and 1950.

Jim Craig is the New Orleans co-director of the MacArthur Justice Center, which has filed a lawsuit against the Caddo district attorney for its practice of striking blacks from juries without explanation. Mr. Craig pointed out that between 1988 and 2008, the Caddo district attorney had sought death as punishment in 84 percent of black-on-white homicides and only 24 percent of other homicides.

“Our observation is this: Those statistics are not accidental,” Mr. Craig said.

Remember: if you behave like a violent vindictive thug, especially while hiding behind the veneer of "law and justice", you only help to perpetuate that kind of mentality. The entrenched racism only helps compound the by making minorities less likely to respect the law and more likely to develop contempt if not outright hatred towards law enforcement.

via International Skeptics Forum

jeudi 12 octobre 2017

Man attempts suicide by cop in Norway

A 36 year old man tried to commit suicide by cop in Bergen back in June.

He got hold of a pistol, which he waved around in the street while shouting.

Police arrived and asked him to drop the gun. When he instead aimed the gun at the police, the police first fired a warning shot and then shot him in the leg.

The man was only lightly wounded, and later explained that it was a suicide attempt.

Source in Norwegian:


Selv om norsk politi brukte våpen 83 ganger i fjor, er det svært sjelden de dreper noen. Det har bare skjedd fire ganger mellom 2002 og 2016.

Til sammenligning skyter og dreper politiet i USA nesten tusen personer årlig.

Der er fenomenet med at folk ønsker å bli drept av politiet, «suicide by cop», velkjent. En studie fra 2009 viste at hver tredje person som ble skutt av politiet, hadde villet det selv.

Det kan også ha sammenheng med at politiet i USA skyter mot brystregionen, mens norsk politi er trent i skadebegrensning, og skyter mot armer og bein.

– I Norge er dette en dårlig måte å prøve å begå selvmord på. Vi skyter ikke for å drepe, sier Morten Ørn, leder for felles operativ enhet i Vest politidistrikt.

Even though Norwegian policed used their weapons 83 times last year, it's very rare that they kill anyone. It has only happened four times between 2002 and 2016.

In comparison, the American police kill almost a 1000 people each year.

There, the phenomenon of suicide by cop is well known. A study from 2009 showed that a third of those shot by police wanted to get shot.

Another reason is that American police aim for the chest, while Norwegian police are trained at limiting damage and shoot for the arms and legs.

"In Norway, this is not a good way to kill yourself. We don't shoot to kill" says Morten Ørn, leader of the Joint Operation Unit in the Western Police District.
We hear again and again from Americans that shooting at arms and legs is impossible, while us Europeans go "but police here has done that many times...."

Here's an example of just that. This man, like so many, was not a danger to anyone but himself. He needs psychiatric help. In the US, he would have been filled with bullets and died.

via International Skeptics Forum

Jim Jones...

The Jim Jones / Jonestown story is an old one but I thought that perhaps it needs to be retold. I remember when this was 'news' but I never really knew any details until I found this video on YouTube.

I suspect that there even might be younger people today (folks < 35 years old) who might not even be aware of what happened. It's a disturbing story and the video runs 01:13:28.

I would suggest that you do not watch it unless you have the time and inclination to view the entire film from start to finish. I feel this is important to experience the full impact of the story.

Thoughts and opinions are welcome...

via International Skeptics Forum

Driverless cars coming your way

Driverless cars heading for approval in California:

For some time, people have wondered when completely driverless cars — the kind devoid of human operators — would appear on California roads. The state’s residents now have a likely answer, one that suggests they could arrive as early as June 2018, and possibly even sooner, officials said. That’s when driverless test vehicles may be allowed to operate on roads and pick up human passengers (as long as they don’t have to pay), according to a revised version of proposed regulations released Wednesday by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

via International Skeptics Forum

Attempted airport bombing in North Carolina

This seems to be getting very little media attention, considering he'd actually gotten the bomb onto airport grounds, has cheerfully confessed to it, and said that he wanted to "start a war on U.S. soil".

He'd made an ANFO bomb with nails for shrapnel, so I don't think it's mistaken identification.

A cynical person might think it had something to do with his whiteness.

via International Skeptics Forum

Trump, the Kook

I read this description of Earl Curley:

Curley had a lot of character flaws that made him a Great Kook. Lots of kooks make outlandish claims -- like inventing the quicksort algorithm, being a rich lawyer, finding a way to seduce women with ease, a willingness to kill if denied tenure -- but few kooks claimed actual supernatural powers.

Curley also claimed a level of intelligence, business acumen, web design skills, sexual prowess, and rhythm on the dance floor that were obviously and patently false based on even the most cursory reading of any one of his posts to Usenet. For example, Curley claimed to be a published author, having written a couple books, but it was obvious from his Usenet posts Curley struggled to craft a single sentence that wasn't loaded with typos, malapropisms, tautologies, improper subject/verb agreement, improper articles, improper prepositions, and other examples of a poor mastery of the English language.

Finally, Curley had a perverse and all consuming need for his doubters to actually believe his grandiose claims. Curley was caught in a weird spiral. More he was doubted and jeered at, more outlandish his claims got, greater his need to convince those laughing at him he really was everything he said he was.

Except for claiming psychic ability, how does this not describe Donald Trump?

via International Skeptics Forum

When young children claim to see an invisible person.

When my 3 year granddaughter was visiting yesterday she kept staring at something in the hallway. I tried to get her back to the book I had been reading but she was just focused on one spot. When I finally asked, she said she was looking "at the man standing there". She added that at first he scared her, but he "is such a nice man" that she liked him and she was smiling and waving at "him".

OK, no ghost, I am aware, but it made me curious if young children are more prone to hallucinations?

via International Skeptics Forum

Evidence of Second Shooter in Vegas:

By dissecting the audio from youtube clips, the speaker determines there are two signatures, of two gun-points, one from 450 yards, and another at 250.

via International Skeptics Forum

mercredi 11 octobre 2017

Why do physicists need to study consciousness /artificial general intelligence?

This thread concerns a discussion about why physicists need to study consciousness, and probably involve themselves in the development of artificial general intelligence.

Firstly, below is a scintillating talk on artificial general intelligence given by, Quantum Phsyics PHD, and former Dwave CTO, Geordie Rose.

He left Dwave, and is now instead CEO and co-founder of Kindred Ai.

He gives an entertaining talk in the tech-vancouver video below, about why the development of artificial general intelligence is crucial for mankind.

Extra: See also a talk here, by Suzanne Gildert here (She also left Dwave, to start Kindred Ai. She has an Quantum Physics PHD as well, and used to work on superconducting chips at Dwave).


Secondly, as Max Tegmark expressed in a youtube video here, physicists have long neglected to define the observer in much of the equations. (The observer being the intelligent agent)

Alert: Notably, when I refer to consciousness below, I echo Bengio's words from one of his recent papers, "I do not refer here to more elusive meanings that have been attributed to the word “consciousness” (like qualia (Kriegel, 2014)), sticking instead to the notion of attentive awareness in the moment, our ability to focus on information in our minds which is accessible for verbal report, reasoning, and the control of behaviour."

As far as science goes, consciousness is likely definable in terms of very complex equations, from disciplines, like Physics; as an example, degrees of general structures such as manifolds central to physics and mathematics, are now quite prevalent in the study of Deep Learning.


As I indicate in the content above, there are two crucial end points:

(1) Physics intends to describe the cosmos, and as Max Tegmark mentions, a non trivial portion of physics, namely the observer has long eluded physics, and so the observer's framework/consciousness (as described in the alert above) warrants non-trivial analysis/development.

(2) Understanding consciousness (as described in the alert above), may lend large help to the development of artificial general intelligence, which is often underlined as mankind's last invention, which apart from solving many human problems (i.e. Self-taught artificial intelligence beats doctors at predicting heart attacks) may also aid in the development of physics. (i.e. Ai learns and recreates Nobel-winning physics experiment)

via International Skeptics Forum

California Wild Fires:Death Toll 21...

And no end in sight to the damage in what is being called The Wine Country fires.

Here in Sacramento, a good 200 miles from the Sonoma area, the skies are clouded over with Smoke.

Also some fires in Socal:they had to close Disneyland for a while yesterday....

via International Skeptics Forum

Should congressmen have to disclose their health status?

The Capitol Hill pharmacist says some congressmen and senators (without naming them) are getting Alzheimer's medications.

“It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.'”

Is that something voters are entitled to know about?

via International Skeptics Forum

Should Trump lose the nuclear football?

Our nuclear response system was designed for the Cold War, during which the U.S. leadership might have literally minutes to respond to a full-out nuclear attack from Russia. Those days are long past. But the President is empowered to order the launch of nuclear weapons immediately, without intervention or counter-balance. Experts now on MSNBC are talking about how nobody has the authority to stop a presidential launch order, and subordinates could only resign or be fired for refusing. The idea that the Secret Service or somebody would just tackle a crazy President is pure fantasy. Question: Should any launch orders require at least a second explicit approval, from the SecDef, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, etc.?


via International Skeptics Forum

Clean Power Plan and the Free Market

Part of the claimed reason for the EPA seeking to kill the Clean Power Plan is the standard Republican argument against unfair or burdensome regulation in favor of the free market.

However, it seems to me that it wasn't a free market for coal before and the CPP actually made it closer to free market principles. The negative environmental and health impacts from the burned coal emissions is part of the cost of their business is it not? Previously this cost was paid for by the taxpayers or by increased healthcare costs for individuals. The CPP put some of that cost back onto the company.

Any of our resident Republicans care to enlighten me?

via International Skeptics Forum

California HIV Exposure Laws

So California recently changed its laws so that knowingly exposing people to HIV will now be classed as a misdemeanor rather than a felony. WaPo article here. Also removes requirement that convicted sex workers be tested for HIV. My initial reaction is to disapprove but also to speculate that the impact will be very limited. Thoughts?

via International Skeptics Forum

mardi 10 octobre 2017

Books about Music?

I'm a big listener to all sort of music, but also enjoy reading certain types of music journalism. I really enjoy books like Listen to This and The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross. Each of these is a series of short writings on music ranging from jazz and classical (mostly), to Radiohead and Sonic Youth. In one particularly interesting piece, he traces the development of a musical device (Basso Lamento) through various musical usages in Renaissance and Baroque music, Venetian Opera, and Bob Dylan's "Twist of Fate". Good stuff.

I also enjoyed Reading Jazz: A Gathering of Autobiography, Reportage, and Criticism from 1919 to Now edited by Robert Gottlieb. Lots of shorter pieces covering just about every aspect of jazz music.

Any other suggestions?

via International Skeptics Forum

Long Island Medium. Any recent debunking?

It doesn't look as if there are any recent discussions about Theresa Caputo. I am curious if anyone is looking at her carefully, as has been done with others like Sylvia and Reiner? Does anyone have information somewhat recent?

via International Skeptics Forum

Activist Atheist divided regarding criticism of Islam

From my impression of many activist atheists (meaning actively engaged in political and/or philosophical debates/struggles) are fine with anything goes against many religions, especially Christianity.

For example, there were some atheists who publically implied that the god of the bible would have to considered as an immoral monster, if he existed. Cannot remember any atheist had much problem with that statement, which for Christians might sound somewhat unfriendly and rude.

And yet, i have the impression that if some atheist would in a similar way attack the god of the koran, that other atheists would have a problem with that (and might even use the termn "Islamophobia", which would irriate my from atheists; i mean being afraid of billions of people at least according to their official declarations putting life and death decisions in the hands of invisible pink unicorns and their words of wisdom or whatever is not necessarily "phobic" but might be pretty rational).

Is that only my false impression or is there actually such a divide among atheists regarding harsh criticism of Islam?

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Missing baryonic matter found?

New Scientist reports 2 teams have found the missing matter (not dark matter) predicting by theory.

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Obesity Medical Costs to Hit $1 tn by 2025


And still people normalise obesity. We even have a "Fat Studies" course running as a legitimate qualification at a university here. Typically, it is being run and promoted by an American. A very large American ... woman?..

The CEO of Britain's NHS has already claimed obesity threatens to bankrupt the organisation.

I see people daily who are unable to walk normally because their thighs are so fat they have to swing their leg out to get past the other.

And some of them are school children.

How about we start shock ads in the way we did in the second half of the 20th century to inhibit smoking? Maybe if kids watched horrendously fat people's bodies being lifted into a grave by crane because it's too heavy for people to lift might encourage one or two of them to tell mummy to stop feeding them crap.

At the very least, let's stop pretending fat is ok, normal or anything else. Classify it as a mental illness if you like, but we have to stop saying it's ok to be the size of a bus.

Obesity, in combination with the baby boom bulge, is going to bankrupt everything, not just hospital services.

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lundi 9 octobre 2017



The age of the universe is three times the age of our Earth.

Quran 50:38. We assuredly created the heavens and the earth and all that is between them in six days, and nothing of fatigue touched us.

Quran 41.9 Say, "Do you indeed disbelieve in He who created the earth in two days and attribute to Him equals? That is the Lord of the worlds."

The verses say the universes and our universe have been created in 6 days/stages, and our Earth is in 2 days/phases.

So the age or creation phase of the universe means three times the age of our Earth or the stage of creation.

Today, science also gives a similar knowledge: Our universe is 13.5 billion years old and our Earth is 4.5 billion years old....

In other words, science indicates that the age of our universe is 3 times the age of our Earth(4.5 X 3 = 13.5).

I answer to those who object to me saying, "But this rate is valid only in our day": Our universe / universes are 6 days old, the Earth has 2 days of eviction, the age of the universe is three times the world's age, When the Quran landed.

And science is introducing us with a new miracle to say the same thing.

In the meantime, I would like to share my remarks in the light of the Qur'an about how the universes were created together (in Turkish):

And this link is explained in the verses I mentioned in my study; The fact that stars are shooting light / flames may now be discovered / displayed:

The miracles / evidences of the Qur'an are emerging and appear with ever increasing impression.

Peace and love


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Time-timelessness and the Floor of Lord (Indallah)

Our Creator is timeless and placeless as being.. He created the time and the place.

But as manager-observer (from the outside) He is at all the points of the place, and at all time points ... .................................................f uture

We are at "now point" and we are traveling towards the forward, future points.

But our Lord does not travel in time points.

The concepts of the past, the future, the present time, are ours.

There's no travel for him.

Always observe and manage the point.

There's no need for him to go there and travel.

When called "be timeless" to people,they think it's like a way of life that only the wrist watch has stopped working, but the other elements continue to be the same. No, as I described above, the lack of time is a completely different situation that we cannot even imagine. The past, the future, the present moment, there are no separate concepts.

Just as our Lord is without place, He is outside of the universe, He do not travel in our universe but we know, from outside as a manager our Lord, who is also timeless in the same way, is again out of time, but a manager-observer at all time points (from outside).

If we go back to a time machine, and go to the future and the past, we will realize that God also ruled that time period. And the time inside the time machine ...

But let's tell again;

As "Being", God is not in anything and is separate from all creation.

Outside of time and space/place...

We are in time and space. They were already created for us ...

And since our Lord is separate from all creation, it is a great sin to attribute a partner to God, because nothing He has created is a part or reflection of Him.

I would like to bring it from here to the expression "the floor of the Lord" in the Qur'an.

In the Qur'an, I think that Rabbin is used in two meanings.

1- In the eyes of Allah ...

2- It is used in the meaning of the universe of eternity hereafter

In the Qur'an, the word " floor of Lord" is the name of the afterlife universe with different laws of physics than ours. For example, unlike our universe, there is life here, and there is no question of aging, deterioration of the material.

And this time on the "Floor of the Lord" (Indallah) is different according to our time:

- Actually, a day on your floor of the Lord is like a thousand years that you are counting. (Surat al-Hajj, 47)

Because our Lord is timeless, it is used here not in the sense of "in the presence of God" but in the meaning of "the hereafter". In our world a thousand years pass, there is only one day in the floor of Lord.

Surely Allah Almighty has created this space. But the name "Floor of Lord" gave it the name it created this time. It is just a definition like "The servant of Allah", " or "The Messenger of Allah" ...

Surat al-Hajj 47 The one who urgently wants a chastisement: God never contradicts the promise. It is also a fact that a day on the side of the Lord is like a thousand years that you are counting.

Surat al-Bakar 112 The work is not like them, but when they deliver their face to Allah with good behavior, there is a reward on the Lord's side. There is no fear for them; they will not worry ...

Ali Surah 15: Say, "Do you notify me better than this?" For those who are guarded and protected, there will be gardens, rivers flowing under them, and rivers flowing under them, pure wives and a pleasure from Allah. Allah sees His servants in the best form. "

En'am Suresi 127 The peace and well-being of their Lord is their dwelling place. Because of the fact that they are works, He has become their Veli.

Surat al-A'raf 206 Those who are on the side of the Lord do not turn away from Him, They will glorify Him and prostrate Him alone.

Heaven and hell already exist, and some exceptions people have begun to live their punishment or rewards by being created physically there unexpectedly in the Day of Resurrection (knowing that other people will wait for Resurrection and account). For example:

-Think not of those who are slain in Allah.s way as dead. Nay, they live, finding their sustenance in the floor of their Lord;

- Allah is pleased with the blessing he has bestowed upon them, and about the Mujahideen who have not joined them as martyrs behind them: "They have no fear, and they will not hear sadness." are found. (Surat al-Fitr 169-170)

According to these verses;

1- While other dead people are really dead (waiting for the resurrection), the martyrs are alive differently from them.

2- They live in blessings on the floor of the Lord (in the Hereafter)

3. When they speak in heaven, they give good news about the people who are still in the world and / or who have not yet been resurrected after they have been killed (they also say words that they will participate in the Jenny)

However, the point to be noted here is that the people who are now in heaven (in the Rabbinic Floor) are as physical as us, they are materially alive. Already according to the Qur'an, there is no such thing as souls, spiritual life. Everlasting life is also the body. All creatures, including angels and goblins, are already members (for example, if we were created from earth, the jinn were also created from fire). You can also read my article on "Nobody has got ghost according to Quran".

Quran (51:22) And in the heaven is your provision and whatever you are promised.

Quran (57:21) Race one with another for forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whereof the breadth is as the breadth of the heavens and the earth, which is in store for those who believe in Allah and His messengers. Such is the bounty of Allah, which He bestoweth upon whom He will, and Allah is of infinite bounty.

The width of heaven is called sky and ground. In other words, it is pointed out that heaven/paradise is as big as our universe. This is again the evidence that the eternity dwelling is a universe of its own, with its laws of physics. In other words, the place is not in the size of a garden or city, but in a gigantic dimension as the world we live in with its planets and heavens.

Floor of Lord is the name of a universe that Allah has created from nothing. The eternity is in that house, there are already inhabitants and waiting for the others.



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Google: Russia-backed ads on YouTube & Gmail


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google has discovered Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on its YouTube, Gmail and Google Search products in an effort to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a person briefed on the company’s probe told Reuters on Monday.

The ads do not appear to be from the same Kremlin-affiliated entity that bought ads on Facebook Inc (FB.O), but may indicate a broader Russian online disinformation effort, according to the source, who was not authorized to discuss details of the confidential investigation by Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google.

It makes sense. If Facebook and twitter, why not all major platforms?

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Nikon Micro Photography Winners

Incredible images:

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The difficult problem of a cycle of racism

This is something that's been on my mind recently, and after reading an article today about the racism the Romani face in my usually progressive home country - Finland, I thought I'd bring the subject up.

Institutional racism, or a vicious circle of racism, is a phenomena where racism towards a particular group of people leads in to members of that group having difficulty finding employment, housing, or other things the majority population takes for granted, and that difficulty leading a part of that community to fall out of normal society, and into either dependence on welfare, or crime.

This leads to this maligned group then developing a larger than average proportion of criminals, and this increases the chances that the encounters of the average majority society member with a member of that minority will be negative.

Which feeds the racism - and makes people conclude that these "others" are inherently criminal, or morally corrupt.

It's a vicious cycle. But how can a society break out of it?

The article I read was about a young woman, of Romani heritage, that was taken into custody from her birth parents by child protective agency, and adopted by a regular Finnish family.

She does not remember or identify with the Romani culture very deeply, but she had a Romani name. She didn't think it would be a huge problem, but found that she had no success in finding an apartment to rent when she was planning to move out of her parent's home, and she got no replies to her job applications.

She ended up changing her name, and now, no longer with a Romani name, she was able to find an apartment and a job pretty easily.

The article continued to explain that this sort of difficulty has lead to families of Romani essentially depending on social services, and developing generational criminal cultures. This affects a significant portion of the Romani in Finland - not the majority, but a significant minority.

Enough to fuel the fires of racism viewing the Romani as criminals, or suspect.

I can understand this, and I'm more embroiled in the whole mess, because I drive the taxi, at night, in Helsinki - the Romani don't use the taxi very often (at least at night) and I'm sad to say that even though I rarely have Romani customers, the only (very rare) problems of a customer trying to leave without paying have been with a Romani customer, and a Somali customer (another group that uses the taxi very infrequently).

I purposefully choose not to discriminate against these groups, and will take them on as customers, even though it is a sad fact that I'm more likely to have problem with such a customer. I'd rather take that risk, than contribute to the problem of discrimination.

This is the fault of the cycle of racism and it's results on the target population, fueling crime and suspicion against the majority society, which feeds back to the racism. It is a bad situation for both the targeted group, and the society in which it happens.

So are there any good models on how to break that cycle? It is a difficult one indeed.

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The examples of Trump Genius.

He got elected as President of the USA.

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Artists who can't paint human figures

Just a light thread:

We have an Edward Hopper calender this year. I noticed first that his compositions are interesting. They often have strong lines that meet at a central figure, but that (human) figure is often drawn clumsily.

At first we thought that Hopper couldn't draw women, perhaps because of some lack of interest. His background curves are more sensual than his women. Then we saw that his males were just as bad.

There's often a sense of figures alone-together in a setting that makes them sort of forlorn or insignificant.

Hitler, also, couldn't draw people.

Can any artists here shed some light on Hopper and on the lore of drawing human figures?

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Strength training every day?

I don't mean alternating upper body vs. lower body. I'm asking if there's any evidence that light (not pushing to failure) strength exercises work if you do them daily. In basic training, I don't think soldiers take a break from pushups and chin-ups and whatever torture drill sergeants can devise for a daily regimen. People who get strong on their job are working every day.

I started some strength work a week ago, and so far I have had no muscle soreness, which usually tells me I'm making progress. Walking dumbbell lunges used to make me very sore when I first started them. Even though I exercise fairly close to the point of failure, and sometimes reach it, my body has not been sore at all. I'm not putting quite as much emphasis on lifting the maximum, but trying to do lower weights with better form, but I do push myself till I feel the "burn," and usually do 3 sets. This is a mix of basically calisthenics, free weights and some machines.

One basic thing has changed since previous efforts: I now spend 5 hours a day on my feet, moving around, sometimes squatting. This has done phenomenal things for endurance, and it is probably exercising core muscles I never think about, and I do it 5 days or more per week.

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dimanche 8 octobre 2017

Skeptics in the Pub: Trivia Night! (Syracuse, NY)

Skeptics in the Pub: Trivia Night!

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 from 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM

The Distillery

3112 Erie Blvd E, Syracuse, New York 13214 USA

Join CNY Skeptics for a Skeptics in the Pub: Trivia Night event for June 21st! This month, we will be at The Distillery on Erie Boulevard in Dewitt, NY, courtesy of the Syracuse Trivia Company! Come and test your trivia knowledge! No cover charge, but you must pay for your own drinks and food.

Please contact 1-315-636-6533 or email for more information.

Central New York Skeptics (CNY Skeptics) is a community organization dedicated to the promotion of science and reason, the investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims, and the improvement of standards for science education and critical-thinking skills.

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Is This A PLace to Find Naturopathic Advice?

I need some advice over things like gluten, MSG, glutathione, grapeseed extract, vitamin C, and the like; anyone know about this sort of thing? I'm trying to detox my brain.

I'd like some solid advice, outside an expensive naturopath, and have I entered the post in the right forum, or sub forum...?

I hope I'll be more than just lectured for being naive, and be given some constructive advice.

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'elp a poor bloke understand universe expansion, guv'nor

Well, before I start, I understand Hubble's law and the data it's based on. You look at a type Ia supernova, the farther away it is, the more red-shifted it is. So the universe is not only expanding, it's accelerating.

I get that, no need to link me to Hubble's Law on wikipedia.

But here's what I don't get:

Actually the farther away something is, the older the image we're getting. So if you're looking at a galaxy 1 billion light years away, you're looking at it 1 billion years ago.

So far that should not be controversial. In fact, all astronomers know it. They even say it every time they discover some galaxy from billions of years ago.

Here's where I go off my meds though: doesn't it mean that you could look at Hubble's law as a function of TIME and red-shift instead of SPACE and red-shift? So basically, the farther back in time we observe something, the faster it was going, and the closer to the present we look, the slower things move.

That looks to me more like the image of a universe that exploded at near the speed of light, way back in ye olde Big Bang, and it's been slowing (e.g., due to gravity) ever since.

Which is where I stop and think I might have gotten something about it wrong or I'm missing something. Any smarter folks can explain to me how the conclusion that it's accelerating takes it all into account?

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Assuming for the sake of argument that the universe was spatially infinite and absolutely flat and devoid of all matter would
a photon or indeed any massless particle be able to travel across it for ever or would there be a point at which it would stop

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Why does earths moon have so little water?

Moons circling other planets seem to have plenty of water. Why is our moon so dry?

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War with North Korea

I've heard many times that the war wasn't ended, only paused, and also that North Korea doesn't want the war to formally end. If the US President were to want to end the war, how would they go about it, and are there reasons to keep it at the current range of hostility?

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samedi 7 octobre 2017

Another terrorist car attack in London?

A car has apparently driven into pedestrians outside the Natural History Museum in London. A man has been detained, though there is no confirmation over the motive as yet.

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[Appeal] Weird hornet behavior - anyone got an explanation?

There is a hornet's nest under the roof in my house; no big deal, I assume they will be gone come spring.
But for a month or so, they have been dragging their larvae out of their nest and dropping them on the ground: something like 3-5 per day. They look pretty disgusting and smell utterly atrocious and I hate having to clean them up.

Can anyone tell me what's going on here?
Obviously the queen is still laying eggs, but they aren't allowed to remain past a certain stage.

Can anyone tell me why they do this?

Much obliged.

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Google Earth Photos

So, I LOVE Google Earth... While the images are far from perfect, the program allows me to see the world and explore sights far from my home.

While looking for the sunken Millennium Falcon, I found this:

Is it an algae bloom?

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"You're inherently racist"

Some people are just inherently racist. It's in their blood. It's in their DNA.


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Australian anti-racism ad sparks online criticism

The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched a new series of adverts designed to combat racism and stir debate in the community.

Unfortunately I think they have taken the easy path and they are going to stir up the wrong kind of debate, why, because I think the best anti-racism talk I ever attended was one that quite simply discussed how cultural differences could lead to miscommunication.

This advert is preachy and conveys a really dangerous message, like it or not at the end of the day we all have to get along with each other, and I don't think this advert and the rest of the campaign is going to help.

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vendredi 6 octobre 2017

Rep. Paul A. (R-Ariz.) rants about Charlottesville conspiracy theories


In the aftermath of the summer’s deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, conspiracy theorists came out in force. It took less than a day for familiar faces such as Alex Jones of Infowars to begin peddling baseless claims that the entire thing was a left-wing plot to stoke racial violence and discredit President Trump.

The allegations ran the gamut: The rally organizer was a “deep state” operative from Occupy Wall Street. Leftist protesters had dressed up in Nazi regalia. Billionaire investor George Soros had orchestrated the whole thing.

It was all swiftly debunked by stories in PolitiFact, Snopes, Politico and elsewhere.

But Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) still seems swayed by the “false flag” theory of the white supremacist violence.

In an interview with Vice News that aired Thursday night, Gosar suggested that the rally was “created by the left” and carried out by an “Obama sympathizer.”

The congressman also brought up a thoroughly refuted claim that Soros, a Hungarian-born Jew who survived Nazi occupation during World War II, had collaborated with the Third Reich, prompting a strongly worded condemnation from a Soros spokeswoman.

I'm honestly surprised that he didn't claim it was Killary behind the steering wheel all along and she was just working to blame the "very fine people".

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And Hurricane Nate makes it 4...

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Coveny’s plan for health care

This is going to be a fairly long post about what I believe is the solution to health care in America. I’m going to touch on the scientific reasons, the economic reasons, and also discuss the emotion impact. I’m going to try and give goals for each of my positions, as well as explanations on how this position is going to achieve that goal. As a for the record thing I’m not getting anyone to review this before posting it so it likely will have spelling and grammar errors, and may not be as organized as it should be, and while you are welcome to criticize those parts my hope is that you will look past them and discuss the various points and how valid you feel like they are.

The problem
Our current system is too costly because of regulations which prevent small at home type hospitals from operating, as well as the lawsuits against medical personal. These regulations also prevent new drugs from being brought into market, and increase the time and costs involved to bring the drug to market. On the flip side the patents or copy rights to drugs keep drug prices very high in this country because once a drug is created only that company can legally produce it for many many years. This is all designed through corruption of our state and federal government to benefit the few at the cost of the many.

Universal healthcare cuts back much of company’s corruption, lowers medical and drug costs. It is not without its problems though as it removes much of the incentive to become a doctor, which leads to less doctors, longer wait times, or patients not qualifying for needed treatments. This again remove options of the poor to get healthcare.

The goal
To create a system where everyone can get healthcare, provide an incentive for people to become medical professionals, and lower healthcare costs.

The solution
1) Deregulate medical buildings
2) Lower patent and copy right terms
3) Making being a medical personal easier
4) Regulate the amounts of lawsuits
5) Bringing it all together

1) Deregulate medical buildings
Did you know that in an abortion clinic it’s required to have hallways big enough to fit two gurneys side by side? Did you also know that they don’t use gurneys in an abortion clinic? The point being there are many laws in place that regulate what a medical building must have, and these laws double if not triple the cost require to build these facilities. By removing these regulations, we could have doctors who saw patients out of their homes completely removing the overhead costs of having a hospital at all. Obviously, this opens concerns about infection and hygiene but if we want to lower costs and allow more people to make money in the medical profession we need to be able to treat it like any other profession. If you want to pay the extra money for a nice that is always an option, but for the poor this gives them other options to get the treatment they need. And as with everything else, as the demand in the hospitals drops, the cost of going to the nicer facilities will drop as well. This is what capitalism excels at. Once we’ve done that we can setup classification of facilities by standards.

2) Lower patent and copy right terms
Many drugs are patented and copy righted for life, and they have a monopoly on the market so they can charge through the roof. Other companies have to wait years before they are able to make generic versions of the drugs. Companies spend a LOT more on marketing than they do on research. The government is doing most of the research. “75% of so-called new molecular entities with priority rating (the most innovative drugs) trace their existence to NIH funding” source: latimes com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-1027-mazzucato-big-pharma-prices-20151027-story.html
Government pay for the research (as with the case of the epi-pen) and then private company buy the patient, regulated all the schools to use it, and then increased the price by 5000%. We need to break the patent/copy right monopoly sooner, and force drug companies to invest into research rather than milking what’s already been created.

3) Making being a medical personal easier
One of the best ways to lower the cost of something is to have a better supply. Currently to be a doctor you need over a decade of school, from which you will exit with a mountain of debt, and there are no half measures here. The closest being a nurse practitioner who is still over a decade in the making. Also let’s be clear, medical malpractice is the 3rd cause of death in this country (at over 200 thousand a year) so it’s not like the people who go through all those classes are providing. So, let’s make it easier to break into the medical profession. Let create tiers like what we do with emergency personal. EMT is the first, paramedic is the second, ER nurse is the third, doctor is the fourth. My suggestion is to have 5 tiers for both general and surgery. The higher the tier the more schooling that’s required, and obviously testing and certification for each of level. I purpose to do the tiers in two year increments so Tier 1 = two-year degree, Tier 2 = four-year degree, Tier 3 = six-year degree, Tier 4 = eight-year degree, and Tier 5 is what we have today. Now this could mean 75% in class and 25% on the job, or whatever the industry feels is best, but the amount of time it takes to get to the point where you can see someone needs to be shortened. Also, the ability to prescribe drugs would be attached to the various levels as well.

4) Regulate the amounts of lawsuits
If we put tiers in place then there needs to be an understanding that the less you spend on a doctor the less you can sue them. This could be regulated based on the tier of the individual who saw you or the amount of money you spent to receive care. For instance, if you saw a tier 1 then you couldn’t sue him for more than 10k, tier 2 30k, tier 3 100k, tier 4 200k, and tier 5 unlimited, or it could be something like 100 times what you spent so that if you had a $20 doctor visit then the most you could sue that doctor for would be $2,000, but if you spent $300 then you could sue for 30k. Accidents are going to happen, and if you want to take a higher risk to save money then the person trying to provide you care needs to have the incentive that one mistake isn’t going to bankrupt him.

5) Bringing it all together
Once we have a system in place where medical care is much cheaper and more available we can cheaply subsidize it. For instance, it wouldn’t be expensive to cover 100% the cost for tier 1 medical professions in a tier 1 building, 80% for 2/2, 60% for 3/3, 40% for 4/4, and nothing for 5/5. Insurance companies could easily adapt to this system, and allow for MUCH more flexibility in healthcare plans that cover the difference, and work on top. Making it affordable to even see tier 3 medical professionals. Doctors have the freedom to build their own practices without having to worry about the regulations of the facilities, and our society would likely even have doctor house calls again. If we can stop trying to remove risk, and stop trying to force people to work for less I think we can easily provide healthcare for everyone.

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U.S. Army Sergeant Bergdahl Expected to Plead Guilty to Desertion

It's , just a rumor now, but it does makes sense. When I was in the military and talked to my lawyer about whether or not I should take a court marshal, she told me that court marshals are a done deal anyway. Pleading guilty takes a political football out of President Trumps hands especially since Private Bergdahl was already screwed when they decided to make it one.

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Gratitude, Compulsion, Idiocy or Nobility?

Hello all,

Many animals & birds which are meant to be slaughtered for food, even if set free, come back to the house of those who nursed but will ultimately slaughter them. Eg. Male goats, cows, cocks etc.

Is it their Gratitude(to repay), Compulsion, Idiocy or Nobility?

Best wishes

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Kazou Ishiguro Wins Nobel Prize for Literature

After last year'a silliness of awarding the prize to Bob Dylan, this year the Nobel people decided to give the award to a proper novelist who even writes accessible books. I've read three of his books all the way through, including Remains of the Day, which you can watch in a film starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Christopher Reeve and Sir John Gielgud. I also tried reading his arty novel called The Unconsoled which was written as a kind of dream fiction and didn't make a lot of sense to me. I also read half of Never Let Me Go which just seems to be about a bunch of kids at a boarding school or something. I gave up on that one as I began to doubt anything interesting was going to happen in it.

Anyway, I took a bit of enjoyment in telling my wife, "guess who won the Nobel prize for literature..."

"Was it a Japanese writer?"

"No, a British writer!"


"Kazou Ishiguro!"

Anyway, any thoughts? Any arguments? Any we-woz-robbeders?

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jeudi 5 octobre 2017

Offensive language - is it still offensive if offence is not intended?

Mod Info The first 42 posts in this thread originated in a thread about supermathematics and AI, which was once again derailed by a discussion about written English. In particular, the use of an offensive word (retarded) where apparently no offence was intended.
Posted By:Agatha

Funny enough, a search on the material gives this result...

Yup, Joined 5th September 2017. and banned 6th September 2017.

I stopped at that point because really, how potty does an idea have to be to buy an instaban? That has to be at least approaching some sort of record.

In any event we are here and not there, and the MA here specifically precludes such spam. I await the programming god's response.

ETA: Apologies, but I should have mentioned that I had never heard of that venue before, but now I want to join. Thank you PGJ.

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Suffolk University-USA Today Poll: GOP's popularity 'is in freefall'

GOP unfavorability up 7 points since June, 14 points since March.

Originally Posted by TheHill
Registered voters are increasingly turning away from the Republican Party and looking to the Democrats to solve America's biggest problems, according to a new poll.

A Suffolk University-USA Today survey released Thursday shows that 62 percent of respondents now have an unfavorable view of the GOP, a 7-point jump in unpopularity for the party since the same poll in June. Just under half, 48 percent, feel the same way about the Democrats.

The poll found that 43 percent of voters look to congressional Democrats to protect families when it comes to health care, compared to 15 percent who trust President Trump on health care and less than 10 percent who say the Republican Party should lead the way.

“The Republican Party is in freefall,” said Suffolk University poll director David Paleologos. “In March the GOP had a 48 percent unfavorable rating, in June the negative swelled to 55 percent. Today the GOP unfavorable is 62 percent. What’s next?”

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mercredi 4 octobre 2017

[Ed] Will artificial super intelligence ******** us?

Real title: Will artificial super intelligence fork us? (Definition #3)

I used to care for a cat at my home.

Kept it well fed.

Used to refer to it as her, instead of it.

..but the more intelligence I gained, the less I cared for it.


I ponder if artificial super intelligence will view us the same?

Or will it be more akin to typical human/ant relationships? (largely uncaring altogether)

Video: Why Superintelligent AI Could Be the Last Human Invention | Max Tegmark


Edited by jsfisher:  Thread title edited. Don't mask profanities with other than completely with asterisks, especially in titles.

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Is prayer always a message to God?

A lot of people this week have been offering their "thoughts and prayers" after LV. Question: Does referring to "prayer" always mean "I believe in God and I'm talking to him for you?" Can an atheist/agnostic reasonably use "you're in my prayers" as "my hopes, my love, my concern," etc., etc.? Or is such use always hypocritical?

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Theresa May and Boris Johnson Soviet sleeper agents

Theresa May today wore a bracelet with pictures of renowned feminist artist Frida Kahlo, sometime lover of arch-communist Leon Trotsky.

And Boris: well the name gives it away; can't believe I didn't tumble to it earlier.

For years this pair have feigned incompetence, but their actions now surely only make sense in a decades-long totalitarian intelligence agency plot to disrupt the British Establishment.

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Anti Vax Mom Going to Jail...

My sympathy for the mom is below the zero level....

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Its different when its your side piece

So do we need to change it to abortion is OK when the life of the mother is at risk, rape, incest and when it is a law makers side piece?

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mardi 3 octobre 2017

Freaky way to become an atheist

Freakily, one day 5 years ago, I started to question the very concept of belief.

Soon after, I started to reject the very concept of belief.

Discarding belief in Gods (i.e. atheism) was simply a by product of discarding the very concept of belief, and that's the odd way I entered atheism.

To see what I am on about, see my little invention "non beliefism": in my signature. I urge that you don't discuss non beliefism here, but instead in a relevant moderated thread here, if you so desire.

Notably, I simply coined the term non-beliefism above ~ many atheists will in fact say they don't believe in evolution, because evolution is true regardless of belief; so evolution like any thing else in science, requires no belief.

Crucial footnote:
Share how you became an atheist, but with one condition, share if it was in a strange way.

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The Nautilus case

I've done a quick search and can't see any other threads regarding this. I'm posting because the details emerging now about the case have crossed the line from odd to bizarre, bordering on surreal.

The UC3 Nautilus is the world's largest amateur built submarine at 33 tons. It was built in Denmark by a group of volunteer enthusiasts led by Peter Madsen, who conceived it as an art project. Madsen is also a self taught space flight engineer who in 2008 founded Copenhagen Suborbitals. This is a crowdfunded company that aims to send an amateur astronaut into near Earth orbit and recover them safely. It has launched 5 rockets and two mock up space capsules from a Danish Navy testing range in the Baltic since 2010. Their first launch famously failed because the rocket's de-icing component for the liquid oxygen valve (a hair dryer) had it's power supply fail.

The Nautilus was trialled by former Danish Navy submariners in 2008 and received a clean bill of health. It was then operated for the next three years by Madsen and various volunteers who sailed it happily off the Danish coast. It was visited by many parties including video game designers and journalists. There are many Youtube videos of the sub in operation. In 2011 the Nautilus was drydocked for maintainence and upgrades. This was planned to be for only a few weeks but it wasn't relaunched until April of this year. In the meantime there had been some ill feeling between Madsen and the volunteers which resulted in Madsen becoming the official sole owner of the sub.

Fast forward to August 11 this year, Swedish free-lance journalist Kim Wall went aboard the Nautilus to interview Madsen. She was a well known and respected globetrotting writer whose work had been published in papers like the New York Times and the Guardian and in magazines like Time and Harpers. Around 7 pm the submarine left the dock and sailed into the Baltic. It had been scheduled to sail the following day to an exhibition at the Danish island Bornholm but Madsen texted the crew that the event was cancelled. During the night Kim Wall was reported missing by her boyfriend to Swedish police and the Nautilus was noticed missing from it's dock. Danish police liased with the crew of the submarine and quickly set up a search at sea. At around 10.30 pm the submarine was seen by a lighthouse crew entering Koge harbour, about 40 km southwest of Copenhagen. Shortly afterward, the Nautilus sank, leaving Madsen on the surface. He was quickly rescued by a private boat.

On being interviewed by police Madsen said the sub had sunk because of malfunction but Wall had not been aboard. He claimed that they had concluded the interview at sea and he had subsequently returned Wall to the dock in Copenhagen. Madsen claimed she had left the ship and he then sailed to Koge harbour alone. The dock site was well covered by private CCTV cameras and Danish police quickly established that Madsen was lying - the Nautilus did not return to the dock. Kim Wall was last seen going aboard the sub before it sailed away. Madsen was arrested immediately and charged initially with negligent manslaughter while the investigation continued. In court on the 12th of August Madsen gave a different version of events. He said that Wall had died accidentally by being hit by the heavy conning tower hatch. He claimed that in a fit of panic he had "buried her at sea" before the accidental sinking.

The Nautilus had sunk in only 7 meters of water. It was approached by divers but they could not enter the vessel. Quickly a cargo ship was contracted by the Danish government to salvage the Nautilus and bring it to the surface. On the 14th of August investigators announced the sub had been deliberately sunk. A week later Kim Wall's headless torso was found at sea. It had been deliberately dismembered and decapitated, stabbed multiple times in the abdomen - homicide investigators say this was to prevent gas build up enhancing flotation - and weighted down by being strapped to scrap metal. The limbs and head have not yet been found. Madsen denies mutliating Wall. He claims that he weighted down her intact body then scuttled the Nautilus in "suicidal psychosis" intending to drown himself.

Fast forward to Madsen's most recent court appearence yesterday. Evidence was given that investigators have recovered videos from a computer in the Nautilus on shore workshop. These apparenlty show the unsimulated decapitations of women. Madsen says they are nothing to do with him and lots of people have access to the workshop.

At this point my jaw is dropping. It isn't clear yet if these videos are downloads of nasty online executions or a more personal record. Is the famous amateur aerospace engineer a serial killer? Did he build an actual submarine specifically as a murder site? I don't know what to think. It's all starting to seem like something out of a bad Scandi Noir story.

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USA needs more gun control!

The USA needs more gun control.

The massacre in Las Vegas shows how dangerous bump stocks and high capacity magazines can be.

We need laws banning bump stocks and any device that allows rapid fire. We also need a law banning magazines over 10 rounds.

Anyone who uses guns knows that a firearm will overheat if using a bump stock or a high capacity magazine, making target shooting pretty impossible. These tools are a gimic for childishly tearing apart watermelons or other large targets. They are not for precise shooting. And as we now know, they are great for committing a terrible massacre.

Ban them now. Our freedom will not suffer with the loss of such objects.

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The Strawman. Intentional or unintentional

Sometimes when strawman shows up I wonder whether it was was placed intentionally vs unintentionally.

I wonder is the writer serious, or are they intentionally throwing off the discussion, (the latter being the definition of the term of course).

How can one know?

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[Split Thread] Atheists engaging with believers - mockery, hostility or friendliness?

Mod Info I have moved the first 18 posts in this thread from this thread, as the question of how atheists should engage believers raises an interesting question which deserves a thread of its own.
Posted By:Agatha


Originally Posted by arthwollipot (Post 12016564)
I see what you did just there. Do you think it was funny or clever?

Nope. Simply pointing out that faux respect for delusions remains faux no matter what anyone does.

Bluntly, there is no religion deserving of any respect no matter how anyone slices it.

On the other hand, you appear to believe otherwise because...well, you have yet to say what it is you find compelling about such superstitious beliefs, nor why anyone should give them the time of day.

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The genesis of a new CT- Las Vegas shooting

Where else but from the Clues Forum.

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South Tower: Calculating the moment of the initial boom

Has anybody refuted this point based on possible video/audio evidence that the South Tower started rumbling a moment before the exterior began moving downward?

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Freaky — Why Yoshua Bengio’s new “Consciousness Prior” paper is strange to me?

Yoshua’s new paper essentially deals with discussing non-trivial priors in some learning model, i.e. babies’ brains are pre-equipped with some “physics priors”, namely the ability for babies to intuitively know laws of physics, pertinently while learning by reinforcement.I won’t go into mathematical detail regarding Bengio’s paper here, but you may better understand Bengio’s paper by viewing a paper of mine written last year. (A clear overview is found here).

Although the aforesaid overview entails the complex topic of supermanifolds, and thus somewhat goes beyond manifolds as Bengio’s paper entails, the overview is quite clear, and may help readers here to better digest Bengio’s paper.

On a separately fun note, I shall underline after the meme below, why Bengio’s paper is quite freaky to me.

When I read the abstract, I quickly thought that Bengio was talking about learning some laws of physics, in conjunction with RL (reinforcement learning).Surely enough, reading the entire paper he does mention babies and intuitive physics, and RL.

Last year I wrote a paper called “Thought Curvature”, about utilizing Supermathematics to learn laws of physics in tandem with RL (reinforcement learning) in the Supermanifold regime. (See a clear overview here)

Some differences are:
(a) Unlike Bengio’s paper, my paper presented a somewhat thorough way to do an experiment to test for the viability of the somewhat novel structure introduced in my paper.

(b) My papers lack the entire description about “mapping and verifying conscious actions in culture” via language, whereby my papers don’t intend to describe a framework for consciousness.

This is perhaps promising news though, it’s freaky to me as I didn’t think my papers were arXiv worthy yet, but Yoshua’s presentation here is perhaps changing my mind.

via International Skeptics Forum